A direct offshoot of the country having 57% of its newborn children as illegitimate (as of 2020, see this column’s “A nation of illegitimate children,” Nov. 17, 2022), is that a disturbing number of our young are growing up absent a father. Which leads us inevitably then to the question of effeminacy: too many of our men have become effeminate.
“Effeminate” here is not to be equated here with “feminine,” which are attributes inherent in women and leads to their perfection. Thomas Aquinas defines “effeminacy” as the unwillingness or inability to put aside pleasure rather than do what is necessary or difficult. The different forms of effeminacy are that oriented towards:
• Sensual pleasures: this is the most common form — chasing food, simping for women, just lying around, doing nothing difficult.
• Appetitive pleasures: essentially giving in or being held captive by one’s emotions, rather than fighting them and let their reason reign.
• Intellectual pleasure: indulging in esoterism for esoterism’s sake rather than real world action benefitting others.
• Volitional or the pleasure of self-love: usually takes the form of someone constantly wanting to do his own thing — i.e., “I’ll do it on my own time and pace regardless of the demands of duty” (“The Crisis of Our Times – Too Many Men are Effeminate,” Fr. Chad Ripperger, Oct. 29, 2018, https://bit.ly/Catholicman_Effeminate).
Effeminacy therefore is not akin to mere surface mannerisms. Gentle and quiet men are not necessarily effeminate. On the other hand, that brusque, loud, heavily tattooed man always seen surrounded by women is likely to be “effeminate”: unable to maintain a commitment, care for his children, persevere in work or other difficulties. Effeminacy therefore is not to be limited to the idea of sexual orientation. As an aside: a 2005 “consensus” pegged the number of male homosexuals at 1% of the Philippine population. Effeminacy in men is a broader (and more problematic) issue for the country.
Their effect on society is to cause it to lose its moorings. One that has let emotion run wild and trample all over reason. A society of “don’t judge” but which cancels anyone with a contrary opinion. One that shrilly demands “freedom” but would happily imprison their neighbor for simply using his brain to decide about his own health. It has become a country where masculinity is disparaged by women while those same women loudly complain that there are no “real men” around.
So, it’s no surprise then that with all these contradictions, mental health issues are on the rise. The Department of Health (DoH) estimated around 3.6 million Filipinos suffering from mental health problems in 2021. Perhaps the inutile pandemic measures had something to do with it but note that even in 2016 one study already pointed out that 20% of (or nearly 21 million) Filipinos suffered from mental health problems. Of that, around 5 million Filipinos suffered from clinical depression.
Another study painted a more troubling picture: “The Philippine World Health Organization (WHO) Special Initiative for Mental Health conducted in 2020 showed that ≥3.6 million Filipinos suffer from at least one kind of mental, neurological, or substance use disorder. Suicide rates are reported to be at 3.2 per 100,000 population with higher rates among males (4.3/100,000) than females (2.0/100,000). However, these numbers may be underreported because suicide cases may sometimes be misclassified as ‘undetermined deaths.’ The WHO estimated that 154 million Filipinos suffer from depression, 1 million from schizophrenia, and 15.3 million from substance use disorders, while 877,000 die due to suicide every year.” (“Philippine Mental Health Act: Just an Act? A Call to Look Into the Bi-directionality of Mental Health and Economy,” Maravilla and Tan, July 21, 2021, https://bit.ly/MentalHealthEconomy).
This is significant, not only because of the human tragedy involved, but also on a policy level “mental disorders could greatly affect employment and levels of education, most especially in ages 25 to 52 years.”
Which is ironic because at a time when the Philippines has been pushed by progressives to its most “inclusive” and “equitable” levels yet, lauded for being “a best performer when it comes to gender equality in the East Asia and Pacific (EAP) region and even globally” (according to the World Bank), that our society seem so lost.
Which leads us to what Columbia law professor Tim Wu calls “The tyranny of convenience” (https://nyti.ms/3AGNRrP, February 2018): “We err in presuming convenience is always good, for it has a complex relationship with other ideals that we hold dear. Though understood and promoted as an instrument of liberation, convenience has a dark side. With its promise of smooth, effortless efficiency, it threatens to erase the sort of struggles and challenges that help give meaning to life. Created to free us, it can become a constraint on what we are willing to do, and thus in a subtle way it can enslave us.”
Or to paraphrase Valmont: what our young men need is not help but hindrances.
And the ROTC and mandatory military service.
Jemy Gatdula is a senior fellow of the Philippine Council for Foreign Relations and a Philippine Judicial Academy law lecturer for constitutional philosophy and jurisprudence